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Five Ways to Help the Environment

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Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Trevor Dennis via Flickr.

Everyone must have thought at some point of time of ways to help the environment. It’s easy to get confused or intimidated by all the advice online and in the news. Not to worry, it turns out there are so many simple things anyone can do to help the environment and your wallet too.

Cut Down on Junk Mail

Ever go to your mailbox and its overstuffed with junk mail and useless catalogs? And then you go through your mail and one by one toss it all in the garbage nearby. Well suppose you could do the environment a big favor by reducing the amount of junk mail you receive by 90%. Cut down on junk mail you receive today to save energy, natural resource’s, landfill space, tax dollars and a lot of personal time.

This is a very low cost solution, for the cost of an envelope and a stamp, you can reduce a lot of annoying junk mail and reduce your impact to the environment at the same time. Go to OptOutPreScreen.com and print the form and send it in.

Beware of Vampire Electronics

Vampire electronics are those electronic devices in all of our homes that we never turn off, thus sucking energy away. These are devices that we never usually turn off because they are in stand by mode but happens to make up a significant portion of our energy bills. Examples of vampire electronics would be the coffee maker, the microwave, the dvd player, or even your computer. These devices are not in use but something as simple as the the time display on your DVD player or old VCR player are sucking energy like a blood thirsty vampire. In fact, vampire electronics suck more energy than you think.

This is a no cost solution to you if you can remember to unplug some of your devices including your cell phone charger. Although, if you are too forgetful to remember to pull the plug on your devices, you can purchase a smart strip or a conserve socket to help you stop that vampire energy from running your electricity bills up.

Green Your Morning Routine

When you wake up in the morning and you are getting ready for school or work, people often follow a repeated pattern much like that of a robot. There are some easy things to green your morning routine and help you save a little green too.

  • Check your thermostat on the water heater. If you lower it to 120 degrees instead of 140, you could lower your electricity bill by as much as ten percent.
  • Use less water. If you make a point to take a 5 minute shower instead of a 15 minute shower, you’ve just scored eco points and if you can do it for a full month, you’ll save money on your utility bill too
  • If you’ve got long hair, consider letting your hair air dry instead of blow drying it. Blow dryers consume a ton of energy, so if you can get by without, more eco points for you.
  • Ditch the disposable razors. 2 billion disposable plastic razors are purchased each year. Eventually they get tossed into the landfill. A more permanent razor with changeable razor heads would be a better choice to help reduce waste.
  • Your cup of coffee – Fair trade Organic is the way to go. Carry a stainless steel mug with you to work or school.

Most of these things are pretty simple to do at no cost or low cost. If you set a goal of reducing your monthly electricity bill, it could be as fun as playing a game.

Energy Efficient Window Upgrades

Do you have single pane windows? Unfortunately, windows are the number one source of energy loss from buildings. Not to worry, a new startup in Portland called Indow Windows makes a thermal window insert that just presses into place on the inside of a window frame to upgrade the thermal performance of a single pane window to almost be equivalent to a standard double pane. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, the inserts also have the benefit of reducing sound transmission by up to 50%.

This moderate cost solution is cheaper than paying for the installation of brand new double or triple pane windows and will be a long term energy saver for your home.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

If you haven’t already done so, check ALL your light sockets and make sure they are energy efficient. I prefer the new LED light bulbs – but they are kind of expensive. CFL’s have come down in price from a few years ago and are fairly inexpensive. Even a couple weeks ago I noticed that I hadn’t converted 4 bulbs that were all running at 65 watts. As soon as I noticed those energy hoggers, I went online and bought LED light bulbs that run on 7 watts of energy, although they were $18 a bulb.

This is a low cost solution that will help you reduce your electricity bill and reduce demand from energy companies that are most likely burning fossil fuels to power your home (depending on where you live).

And there we have it. We’ve listed five ways you can help the environment (actually a little bit more than five) that anyone can do with little to no cost.

About John Tarantino (339 Posts)

My name is John Tarantino ... and no, I am not related to Quinton Tarantino the movie director. I love writing about the environment, traveling, and capturing the world with my Lens as an amateur photographer. You can connect with me via Google+ or via Twitter: Follow @EnvironmentBlog


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6 Comments on “Five Ways to Help the Environment

  1. Could we also please add NOT buying bottled water! Such a waste of plastic, and so many people don't recycle these. A good water filter costs $20 these days and the water tastes the exact same as bottled water. Do a blind taste test and I guarantee that you will not be able taste the difference between bottled water and filtered.

  2. Thanks for the tip on that opt out pre-screen link. I am constantly bombarded with junk mail and every time I get it I can't help but think what a waste it is. I'm constantly looking for ways to make my activities more enviro friendly and this is a great tip. I boat once in a while and I finally found some good tips on how to cut down on my fuel consumption – http://www.manitouboats.com/blog/how-to-save-fuel… if anyone is interested. Anyhow, great blog.

  3. I agree with all your ideas and even to the comments above. In the past we purchased two five gallon water jugs that we take to our local grocery store and fill up for .35 cents a gallon so it not only saves us cash but also the environment. We also purchased reusable water bottles so if we need it to go we can fill up the bottles and go. Less waste and more cost effective.

    I love the idea of a environmental NO NO post…do you think the list would be way to long? There are so many things that we do everyday that harm the environment.

  4. Yep all fair points. The fact that we’re all on here reading and chatting about this stuff means that if we’re not already doing these things, then we’ll most likely think, “oooh thats a good idea” and start doing it.

    For me the issue is getting the people that aren’t on here and other green sites to buy into this. Time and again we hear new about “global warming” and how its going to affect us in the future. I don’t think the majority of people really care that much about it.  Anyone else feel that way?

    I suppose its really difficult to get across the importance of turning off the phone charger you’re not using. I myself am a culprit. Only the other day I realised that a stereo I haven’t used in a year is constantly turned on. What a waste! So if someone like me who is interested in environmental issues doesn’t think about it what hope is there for the non-greenies???

    • Hope is alive, the fact that you are here reading about it randomly is testament to the fact that if information is spread around, hopefully, you can pick up a good idea that will help save the environment is some fashion.

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